This post contains affiliate links at no additional cost to you. At Summit Souls, any review or recommendation we give is honest and unbiased. Learn more here.
When you’re camping, you want to make sure you have all of the equipment needed for a successful night out under the stars. Part of that comes with making sure you have the right tent. Inflatable tents can be a great if you want to pitch a tent quickly, since air tents are like any other tents except instead of having the traditional poles made from metal these tents have inflatable beams. These inflatable tents need an air pump to fill them up, and you’re set, which is why the concept is growing increasingly popular.
What is an inflatable tent?
So, what exactly is an inflatable tent? It is very similar to normal tents except the tent has an inflatable beam that is pumped up using air instead of having a normal pole made of metal or fiberglass. When people refer to an inflatable tent, they are referring to the structure of the support poles or beams. The rest of the tent is its normal nylon/polyester material.
This can cut down on your assembling time by a LOT, particularly if you have a large tent for more than 4+ people. With inflatable tents, you simply need to unfold the tent, pump it up, and secure it.
Inflatable tents can also be known as air beam tents.
Best inflatable tents of 2021
There are several things you will want to factor in when purchasing an inflatable tent including:
- Size: how many people are you trying to sleep in the tent? How many chambers do you want the tent to have?
- Cost: how much are you willing to spend on the tent? How many times will you be using it?
- Seasonality: certain tents are made to last through any season or may be geared towards hotter or colder weather.
Best inflatable tent for families
Capacity: 4 Person
Weight: 15.7 kg
The Vango 4-Person Odyssey Tent is great for a family of four. The tent boasts pre-angled beams for more interior space with king sized bedrooms. The Vango Protext polyester flysheet is highly waterproof, durable, and reliable. The tent also has a fully sewn-in groundsheet to prohibit bugs from coming in. The Vango Odyssey tent has an airbeam technology meaning it takes only minutes to set up. The tent also comes with a double action pump. The Vango Odyssey tent also comes with the Vango Tension Band System which ensures your tent holds up against adverse weather conditions.
Need space for more people? Check out the Vango 6-Person Odyssey tent.
Best premium inflatable tent
Capacity: 3 Person
Weight: 4.8 kg
The HEIMPLANET Cave Tent is a great premium tent for up to 3 people. Due to its airbeam design, you can set up the tent within minutes. The HEIMPLANET Cave tent utilizes a one pump system, which means the entire tent can be pitched using only one air valve. The airbeams are also built with double layered construction allowing for an airtight structure that offers strong support and stability. The tent’s geodesic frame structure makes it extremely stable and able to withstand winds over 100+ mph. The roof’s star structure also creates run off points for rain so that it doesn’t accumulate on the roof. The tent also comes with a repair kit.
Best budget friendly inflatable tent
Capacity: 4 Person
Weight: 3.6 kg
The HUI LINGYANG 4 Person Tent is a good budget option inflatable tent that can sleep up to 4 people. The airbeam structure allows the tent to be set up within seconds. It comes with a taped seam and waterproof fabric keeps the tent dry even in heavy rain. The HUI LINGYANG 4 Person Easy Pop-Up Tent is a good option to consider if you are looking for a more budget friendly inflatable tent.
Which are better? Inflatable tents or pole tents?
There are pros and cons to using either kind of tent, so let’s take a look at both for inflatable tents.
- You can pitch them quickly. As mentioned above, pitching inflatable tents take very little time, around 10-15 minutes, to inflate whereas more traditional tents can take far longer depending on the size of the tent. Regardless of how large your inflatable tent is, the time to set up remains low.
- Inflatable tents can be set up by one person and you don’t need a 50-page instruction manual. Setting up normal tents, especially larger ones, can often take many hands to get the poles set up properly. Some of those same tents come with large instruction manuals for setting it up. With most inflatable tents you just need to pin down the base and pump up the beams- no matter the size. Just don’t forget your air pump!
- You can store inflatable tents easily. Packing up your normal tent assembly can be difficult if you have multiple poles to try and fit in your vehicle. With inflatable tents, the entire set up can be packed away easily as all parts of the tent can be folded up. This is ideal for those who don’t have a lot of car space to store massive tent poles.
- They are very durable. Most inflatable tents come with some sort of pressure relieving valve to prevent air beam rupture should it get pressured up too much during inflation. This helps protect the integrity of the air beam and keep it lasting longer. These pressure valves can also help adjust pressure inside the air beams from changing ambient air temperature.
- They can weigh more than regular pole tents. Inflatable tents can be heavier than normal tents especially when you factor in that you need to bring an air pump with you. In order to make sure the air poles are robust, they tend to weigh more than you might expect.
- They tend to cost more. Inflatable tents tend to cost more than normal tents, so it’s important to balance the benefits with the potential increased price.
- They can spring a leak. While most tents are build with double layer protection to support the airbeam and provide stability, leaks can happen. Make sure you have a puncture repair kit on hand.
Can inflatable tents stand harsh weather?
Inflatable tents do great in harsh weather. Because of the malleability of the air beams, they can support strain from high winds, but won’t become permanently damaged like metal poles can after a night of rough winds. Metal poles that bend after harsh weather tend to weaken in those spots, causing the metal to continue to bend there until it eventually gives. While the air beam tents are designed to withstand harsh wind and weather, it’s good to bring along a puncture repair kit just in case.
How do you put up an inflatable tent?
Pitching inflatable tents are fairly easy, which is one of their main benefits. Most inflatable tent set ups follow the same general instructions listed below:
- Lay out the tent flat, orienting the positioning how you want it.
- Locate the valves need to inflate the tent.
- Attach the air pump and start inflating- The pump tubing is usually pushed straight into the valve or screwed on.
- As the tent takes shape, guide the poles into shape.
- Secure the tent to the ground and peg out the guy lines.
Always make sure to read your tents specific instructions to set your tent up right.
Are inflatable tents right for you?
Inflatable tents can be a great investment for your camping adventures if you’re ready to ditch the old metal poles for quick set up air beams. While pricier than your normal tents, they can be a great investment in time efficiency and setup on your next camping adventure.
Don’t forget the rest!
Once you have the inflatable tent don’t forget the rest of the essentials. If your inflatable tent doesn’t come with an air pump, make sure to grab your own here. Don’t forget your puncture repair kit.